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    Contributions: February 1999

    I have visited the forum quite often over the past year and in doing so; I have often asked myself this question "What drives us to Plath?" Yes, she was a literary genius and yes we have questions about why she ended her life so abruptly, but could it also be that in searching for answers about Plath, we are also searching for answers about ourselves? I am not trying to offend anyone, by any means, however I am trying to find answers to the way in which people respond so personally to Plath and the relation of those responses to what is going on in their own lives. If anyone would be interested in corresponding with me about this topic, please feel free to email me. Ultimately, I would like to take this research to a higher level to prove the immense effect Plath still has on the lives of many nearly forty years after her death.

    , USA
    Sunday, February 28, 1999

    I have an extra credit assignment on Sylvia Plath's "Metaphors" on Monday, March 1, and I'm not sure I'm interpreting it all correctly. Could I get some feedback?

    Katie Long
    Columbia, USA
    Saturday, February 27, 1999

    I am a junior in high school, and, as a fan of Sylvia Plath's work, I am writing a major paper on the presence and influences of death on her work. I would be interested in interviewing someone who knows a lot about her, or at least knows more about her than I do. If someone would like to be interviewed over the computer for my paper, please email me. Thank you.

    Columbus, USA
    Friday, February 26, 1999

    Sarah-- In Hal Bloom's introduction to his book of essay's he states that, "I believed firmly that critics should not write about poetry that they did not love, indeed had not loved for a long time." He says that he first met and liked Plath but then again, what the Colossus proffered wasn't what he'd expected. Ariel seemingly annoyed him as well. I think it's a case of pride vs pride. Plath writes convincingly & Bloom I think looks to dislike much of what poets & writers have to say because it's what he is paid to do!

    But, if you look at the definition of a 'poem' in a standard dictionary (American), you find:

    A composition designed to convey a vivid and imaginative sense of experience, characterized by the use of condensed language chosen for its sound and suggestive power as well as its meaning, and by the use of such literary techniques as structured meter, natural cadences, rhyme, or metaphor.

    In his Introduction to Yeats: The Man and the Masks, Richard Ellmanm brilliantly states his & the poet Thomas Nashe's definition of 'poem:'

    I cannot think of too many Ariel poems that do not fit these definitions. We all watched Sylvia Plath commit suicide in Ariel and I'll grant the Colossus is tough poetry, but it is poetry. I think Bloom even considers The Colossus to be poetry, yes!, he says in his Introduction that he read the "earliest poems with respectful interest." Right there he says she wrote poems.

    When I think natural cadence, I think of a Plath poem like Sheep in Fog, "The hills step off into whiteness." or "Morning Song, "Love set you going like a fat gold watch."

    "Ariel," the title poem, illustrates the great experience of a dawn horse ride in which the reader is blindly speeding toward the sun, racing against herself to a death. Remember, not once in the poem is it stated that she is on a horse. This also is an example of metaphor. Another example is Plath's metaphorical poem, 'Metaphor.' Nine lines, nine syllable per line. Just pregnancy!

    Sylvia Plath achieved that cathartic experience sometime around October 1962. She 'got over it' when she wrote the bee sequence and Daddy. "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through." What comes afterward (the January 1963 poems) are somber poems of another voice, a voice tired & resolved, a voice broken. A voice with blown will. And so I think those poems (Sheep in Fog, Child, Mystic, Kindness, Contusion, Ballons & Edge) so clearly show that she had indeed, 'gotten over something.' These also were poems Plath was setting aside for another book of poems, to follow Ariel. I really feel anything Bloom says should second guessed. He's a critic that knows a lot of five dollar (or, eight quid) words & reluctantly wrote an introduction to a collection of essays which he himself might not own!

    I think you have raised a very interesting point! As sort of a bridge to your next project, Plath & Hughes fed off each other. The well documented excercise Hughes gave to Plath involving "The Moon and the Yew Tree" is one fine example. It's also being revealed that Hughes and Plath would share paper on which to write poems, short stories & novels! Plath's poem "Winter Trees" is handwritten on the reverse of Hughes's poem "Full Moon and Little Frieda." I think there is a page somewhere on the internet, hosted by Emory University, which contains a photograph of a page of The Bell Jar which Hughes repaired with tape and also used himself for a poem? Should I find the link, I'll post it, should anyone else out there have the link, please post it!!!

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    Friday, February 26, 1999

    I don't get it. I'm no scholar, but I'm trying and I still don't get it!!! Whats going on about the eggs. Whats the quote about?? I think I've completely lost it on this one.

    I asked ages ago about a Harold Bloom quote that Stewart mentioned. Well, there was (is) a reason. Since then I have been talking to my tutor about Plath and Harold Bloom's view that ALL great poets need to 'get over' something before they come into their own style and hence personal success. I disagreed at first, however the more I look at Plath and her development as a poet the more I realise that dear old eccentric Bloom may have got it right. Plath reached the pinnacle of her personal success as she tried to 'get over' her inward turmoils. I know that Bloom was not aiming his theory at Sylvia Plath herself, as it is evident from his quote in the Chelsa House series - that Plath never wrote a poem in her life - he does not consider her to be a 'great poet'. However, I would like to know if you guys agree. Did Plath need to 'get over' her personal turmols before she could discover herself as a true poet? Sometimes I think yes, its obvious that she needed a persona!
    l outpour, some sort of catharsis, before she could write freely. Other times I think this is a horrible thing to say, surely the potential is there within any poet to write - why should a poet have to get over something?

    My next project is on Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes influences on each other. I'm reading as much as I an for now, but if you have suggestions let me know.


    London, England
    Thursday, February 25, 1999

    Did anyone happen to record the Whitbread Book Awards? I missed it and would really like to see Frieda'a appearance. My friend informs me that it was quite spooky listening to her speak. Also in an interview just before TH died he said "The time for telling th truth about Sylvia is when one is dying..." Does anyone know if indeed he did 'tell the truth' to anyone, now he is dead is it likely more will be revealed about their relationship?

    Essex, UK
    Thursday, February 25, 1999

    Seems to me (and I have not been able to find a copy of this essay, so I'm probably completely wrong) that Helen McNeil is focusing upon the image of the egg-woman as a means of linking Plath with the gender theorists, who, as I understand them, seek to eliminate the association of genitalia with gender identification. Oh dear. Am I misunderstanding the essayist's point?

    Stewart Clarke
    New York, USA
    Tuesday, February 23, 1999

    I am currently taking an English class in college and the professor has given me one of Sylvia Plath's poem to analyze, Mirror. I have searched the forum for comments on this particular poem and have not found any. If you have analyzed Mirror and would like to share your comments, please email me.

    I am very interested in knowing the meaning of the poem and what strong imageries SP used and why. What kind of experiences she was trying to convey?, her own or someone else's?

    Please, any comments will be greatly appreciated.

    Elizabeth Ortiz
    New York, USA
    Tuesday, February 23, 1999

    Hi! I'm a year 11 student and I was wondering if anyone out there could shed a little light into the poem 'Lorelei' please.....It's for an English assignment and I really need some help.......I have sort of got it worked out but I really need some help with the analysing the actual poem from an expert on Sylvia Plath, (cause everyone who writes these messages are experts...) Thanks a bunch...oh email me, at.. ..thanks!! Ciao!

    Brisbaneish, Australia
    Tuesday, February 23, 1999

    Carol's posting about the Lilly Library in Indiana has spurred me into action. I am allowing myself one last fling before my first baby is born in July, and I've decided this last hurrah will be at Smith College viewing the Sylvia Plath collection. It's not Cancun, but it's my dream vacation right now.

    I know many Forum attendees have visited Smith, and I was wondering if anyone could give me advice about the best way to go about seeing the collection. Naturally, I'll be calling the Neilson Library, but if anyone has an "in" there or has tips about the best ways of arranging it -- as well as the must-see items and how much time I should devote to this adventure -- I would appreciate any advice. Feel free to e-mail me directly if you don't want to post here.

    Falls Church, Virginia, USA
    Mon, 22 Feb 1999

    Hi, I was looking through your comments and questions for something, anything, on her poem "Mirror". I'm supposed to be doing a psychological analysis and I didn't find anything. If you have any info at all, PLEASE email me ASAP. Thanks.

    Anchorage, USA
    Monday, February 22, 1999

    Last week, while on business in Indiana, I took a chance and stopped by the Lilly Library in Bloomington, not really knowing what to expect. First, let me say that the Hoosier Hospitality was as warm and generous as ever -- including the young desk clerk at Lilly who stayed with me on my cell phone "talking me through" the I.U. campus until I got to my destination. But imagine my astonishment and amazement when I actually reached the Lilly and discovered the absolutely voluminous wealth of materials they had on Plath. And, most amazing of all, there were documents and materials I never knew existed. (clips of her hair, a self-portrait in chalk that is absolutely stunning!, etc.)

    The biggest find were her "diaries." It seems that, in addition to her journals, which are housed at Smith, Plath also kept "diaries," or daily pocket-sized calendars -- one for each year. I spent two hours or so reading her diary from 1957 -- the year in which she met and married Hughes. As you all probably know, the "published" (i.e. "edited") journals have several huge gaps from that year -- except for a few comments by Frances McCullough and some journal excerpts from Plath's trip to Spain. Well, this particular tiny little red pocket diary held a wealth of information -- daily comments in microscopic handwriting that would fit in each day's one-inch space -- and it revealed a highly erotic and impulsive side of Plath that I never knew existed. I was enthralled and astonished -- and took pages and pages of notes, hoping to use them in my future writing.

    A question for all of you Plath scholars: Faber & Faber holds the copyright on this material, so I do understand why it has not been published. But why have we never been made aware that these little diaries exist? (at least I never knew about them, and I thought I had read everything about Plath there was to read.) For the most part, these diaries are quite mundane -- they record details about what she ate, when she washed her hair, who she had visited with that day, etc. But every now and then, a spontaneous little emotional expression, or a few words of a new poem, find their way onto those small pages, and that is what makes the diaries so fascinating. Does anyone know anything about these diaries, held at Lilly ?? Remember -- they are separate from her journals, which are held at Smith. Anyone know any reason why they have never been made public?

    I am most interested in hearing from any of you who may have read these diaries first-hand, or who know about them. Thanks.

    Carol Petrone
    Southfield, MI, USA
    Saturday, February 20, 1999

    I need an extensive analysis of Plath's poem "Metaphor" and "Tulips" If anyone can email me with all that info that would be much appreciated

    Seattle, USA
    Saturday, February 20, 1999

    The context for the quote from Voices and Visions is this:

    McNeil says that Theodore Roethke's "The Lost Son" is radical too, in the same way. But I think she put the quote in as a way of linking some kind of theory to the egg imagery in Plath's late poems, not to associate her with schizophrenia.

    Lena Friesen
    Toronto, Canada
    Friday, February 19, 1999

    Thanks to Peter Steinberg, who scanned it, and Elaine and Chris, who linked it, or cybered it, or whatever it is that they do, the "Perfect Light" photograph is now on the Photos link. And in living color! Such a rare treasure, this photograph - a visual equivalent to the "Letters Home." This is one that will start popping up in future Plath biographies. Who could suspect what demons are lurking beneath the surface of this idyllic tableau? Hughes, in wonder, writes:

    Lena Freisen, I am still trying to decipher the baffling Gallic gibberish quoted below, which reads like an internal memo from the Whitehead Institute/MIT Centre for Genome Research. Perhaps, in context, it sheds perfect light. I don't have a copy of Helen McNeil's essay - please give us more details regarding her thesis!

    Stewart Clarke
    New York, USA
    Friday, February 19, 1999

    In the essay about Sylvia Plath in the Voices & Visions book, there is an interesting quote from Anti-Oedipus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. I will quote it here in full, in case you don't have the essay (it's worth reading):

    Okay, now the essayist Helen McNeil says she's quoting this as a way to "understanding why we perceive Plath's work as radical."

    Is Plath radical in this French psychoanalytical way, or in a more political sense?

    Lena Friesen
    Toronto, Canada
    Thursday, February 18, 1999

    Audrey of Redmond WA, Michael Pemberton of London ENG; Sorry for the delay in response, but I have been absent from checking here by the press of business, cataloguing what is...Please try the email address again; it was down temporarily, but should be operational again.

    Kenneth Jones
    San Francisco, USA
    Thursday, February 18, 1999

    I have one question for those of you who share my endless fascination with the biographical details of Plath's life: Have any of her biographers ever been able to track down Richard Sassoon?

    New York, USA
    Monday, February 15, 1999

    L Chow,
    Not entirely sure what Dias means, though I remember it being referred to in a film once, not sure if it's spelt the same, but it could mean "God". Sorry can't be of more help.

    Sarah Hoiland,
    I have some notes on "Morning Song" from my A-level and could look them out for you if you still need to know about that third stanza. What I can remember is not all that fundamental, in that the 'flat pink roses' just refers to the environment of the room and the surroundings, i.e, the bedding, or matress with a floral print, so not all that significant unless you can find a deeper meaning to that, don't forget Plath often depicted nature as being threatening. If you need to know more e-mail me.

    Essex, UK
    Monday, February 15, 1999

    To Stewart Clarke:

    "dias" ih the poem "A birthday" is a typing mistake for "dais", meaning platform, podium, pulpit, stage, stand.

    Arlindo Correia
    Brussels, Belgium
    Monday, February 15, 1999

    My initial reaction and reading of The It-Doesn't-Matter-Suit was and is that it quite possibly could be Plath's most 'confessional' writing. Take away the names she uses (Otto, Emil, etc.) and look at the story for what it says: no matter what you wear on the outside: suit, frown, sweat pants, what have you, you are the same person, you are one person on the inside.

    We've had lots and lots of readings of Plath herself, and by readings I mean first hand accounts. Nancy Hunter-Steiner's A Closer Look at Ariel, Dido Merwin's scathing account of Plath & Hughes in France, Hughes' Birthday Letters and several other memoirs, all with conflicting view points. Plath was this way, Plath was that way, she was a reactive person, reacting to the environment she was in. Much like you and I. When we are dressed for an interview or the theatre, we are in a suit or nice dress. When we are playing footie or at home reading the Sunday papers, we are dressed in sweats or nothing!

    That's why I am surprised the sales didn't go as well for this book. Nevermind the author committed suicide! What about the story that every person is unique, has much to be appreciated for, and has much to offer no matter the color of their skin, the size of their brain or the number of words a minute they can type! !! !!! It is a perfect book for today's kids.

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    Saturday, February 13, 1999

    I've been a huge Plath fan for years. Visit my Complete List of Sylvia Plath Links at for a treasure trove of almost 100 links that I have maintained and kept up-to-date for over 2 years now. Happy surfing!!

    Emily Pollard
    Portland, OR, USA
    Saturday, February 13, 1999

    As a Morticia Addams-type mother who's purchased both the "It Doesn't Matter Suit" and "The Bed Book," I'd have to say that the reason the first book hasn't sold well is that it's not a very good kid's book. "The Bed Book," however, is a rollicking, funny tale that my (3 and 5) kids love. Admittedly I bought both books because of my personal interest in Plath, but I'm guessing that if her name wasn't on the cover, "The Bed Book" would actually do pretty well in book sales.

    Amy "Morticia" Rea
    Chanhassen, USA
    Saturday, February 13, 1999

    It doesn't surprise this reader that "The It Doesn't Matter Suit" was not high on the children's best seller list. What mother is going to give her kiddies a cute little story by Sylvia Plath? Morticia Addams?

    Perhaps someone out there saw the article yesterday in the NY Times about the new Hughes collection at Emory. From all accounts, this treasure trove will truly be a godsend to Hughes (and Plath) scholars. The article boasted a stunning photograph from the archive -- of Sylvia, looking exactly like Maria Von Trapp, perched amid the daffodils in a wash of sunshine, plump and braided like a Teutonic Madonna with infant Nicholas in her arms and toddler Frieda looking into the camera . . . the very photograph that inspired Hughes' poem "Perfect Light" in "Birthday Letters." I hope someone can scan it over to Elaine, and get it on the photo links page. It truly is priceless.

    Oh! Also, I looked "dias" up in the dictionary:

    Hope that helps!

    Stewart Clarke
    New York, USA
    Friday, February 12, 1999

    My earlier note in re Sow mentioned Sir Bors. This is undoubtedly wrong. A famous old boar of early Arthuriana may be more likely though, namely Trwch Twrth, the massive boar finally dispatched by Arthur and a host of helpers after a lot of bloodshed. The story is in The Mabinogion Many are finding Plath absorbed by the Holocaust and the earlier persecution of the Jews. There is a (somewhat improbable) reference that could have played a part in motivating Sow. A J Sherman, in his Feb 5th '99 TLS review of Niall Ferguson's history of the House of Rothschild, writes of The Judensau, the Jews' sow, a derogatory 18th century image displayed on the main Frankfurt bridge. Plath could well have known of this image. Some lines in Sow," ... no dolt pig ripe for heckling / About to be / Glorified for prime flesh and golden crackling..." could be so taken. I think it's a stretch, but there it is.

    Jim Lawther
    State College, PA, USA
    Thursday, February 11, 1999

    I came across a copy of Plath's "The It Doesn't Matter Suit" the other day. The copyright says 1996 by Frieda and Nicholas Hughes, though I thought I read somewhere that it was first published in the 70's. Does anyone know for sure about that? Something tells me that it didn't sell too well when it came out, because it was in the Barnes & Noble bargain books section for $2.98, marked down from $10.98. Also, I wonder when she originally wrote it. I would guess after her children were born, but I'm not sure.

    I thought it was interesting that she named three of her characters Otto, Emil, and Warren, and also the name of the fictional town, Winkleburg, definitely has a Germanic sound to it. I know it is just a children's story, but since I'm a dedicated Plathophile, I want to read into everything. If anyone knows any more about this book, please let me know.

    Crescent Springs, KY, USA
    Wednesday, February 10, 1999

    I am a collector as well as a fan of both Hughes and Plath material, if anyone has any material for sale then feel free to mail me. I am in the middle of designing my own webpage dedicated to literature especially plath/hughes and hope to include pictures of the grave and accounts of my visits to hebden bridgen and fitzroy road in chalk farm.

    I look forward to puchasing a copy of Elaine's book as I never knew it existed.

    Michael Pemberton
    London, England
    Wednesday, February 10, 1999

    Kenneth, If you still have those archives, I would like to purchase them. I attempted to e-mail you but the mail was returned. At any rate, please e-mail me if they are still for sale. Thanks!

    Redmond, WA, USA
    Wednesday, February 10, 1999

    Thanks to all for your interest re:"Her Husband". I was unable to reply because my machine crashed and I lost addresses.

    The most common question was who wrote it? Answer: Hughes in or around 1960. I find it quite awesome and suggest you look it up in his biblio. It's an utter mystery to me as to who on earth wrote it down on the back of a calender dated 11.02.63 ??????????

    I feel that if it really isn't Hughes' writing it must have been someone very close to them.

    Has anyone any idea whether they had any links to Croydon, England? Any suggestions at all will be gratefully received.


    Sarah Jones
    London, UK
    Tuesday, February 9, 1999

    I was curious if anyone had any insight on the poem "morning song" especially regarding the third stanza, "I'm no more your mother/Than the cloud that distills amirror to reflect its own slow/Effacement at the wind's hand." I was also a little unclear to the "moth-breath" and "flat pink roses" phrases. any help this week would be much appreciated for a paper I am writing...thanks

    Sarah Hoiland
    Spokane, USA
    Tuesday, February 9, 1999

    In April Random House is set to release a new audiotape called Sylvia Plath: The Voice of Poetry. It will be about $14.95 (US). That's all I know!!

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    Monday, February 8, 1999

    Hi there! Can anyone help me out at all: I have an assignment due on Friday about Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus". Basically I'm just looking for a little insight into what's going on in this poem. Specificaly the last line, but actually anything anyone has to say about this poem would really help... Thanks so much.

    Amanda Grace
    Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
    Monday, February 8, 1999

    to Mike Baco's question on Sow: Suggest knighthood reference may be Sir Bor of Arthurian legendry, Lent deprived hog sounds like a children's story, though which one I don't know. Most of poem sounds like an actual Plath experience with her embelishments

    Jim Lawther
    State College, PA, USA
    Monday, February 8, 1999

    I was wondering about Sylvia's poem "A Birthday". In the beginning of the second stanza she says "Raise me a dias of silk and down", and I'm stumped. What does the word dias mean? I've looked it up in the encyclopedia, dictionary and online dictionaries. I thought it might be greek but can't find out what it means. Does anyone out here know?

    L. Chow
    Edmonton, Canada
    Sunday, February 7, 1999

    I am teaching German (translation, literature) at the university in Brest (in the west part of France), and trying to write a book about Death in 3 novels : Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge (RILKE), Malina (Ingeborg BACHMANN), The Bell Jar (Sylvia PLATH).

    I am looking for 'literary' and maybe 'personal' contacts with people sharing some of my interests : Death, 'criture fminine', poetic prose, american/european literature...

    Of course, my English is not so good, I am sorry (but willing to improve it ; my French and my German are better). I am fascinated by writers, for whom writing is a question of life or death (more than by authors like Thomas Mann, for example)

    I am writing poetry myself, like some of the people here, I guess, but it's quite another question. I have been looking at several S.Plath'-links', but this one is the first I find really interesting

    A bientt

    Michel Kappes
    Brest, France
    Friday, February 5, 1999

    I was wondering if anyone had any insight as to the meaning in the 1957 poem, Sow. I have been caught up in a heated discussion with a professor, and could use some help. Thank you very much.

    Mike Baco
    Buffalo, USA
    Friday, February 5, 1999

    When I was at Smith nearly a year ago, I didn't even think to look at the Bell Jar drafts that they have. I am sure what ever is there is simply astonishing, in an "I wouldn't have guessed" way. I mainly focused on the Ariel poems, drafts of, and those elusive unpublished Journals; which according to the Times of London will be published next year by Faber in one solid book, containing over 1000 pages--UNEDITED.

    Peter Steinberg
    Alexandria, Virginia, USA
    Friday, February 5, 1999

    I have come across a curiosity that I hope someone out there can help me with:

    The poem: "Her Husband" written in longhand on the back of a calender dated 11th Feb '63. I need not remind anyone of the significance of that date.
    I've checked, and it would seem not to have been written in Hughes' hand.
    But where did it come from? The poem had been published only twice, both in magazines: The Spectator and Harpers (both in 1961).

    Obviously, the find isn't as important as I'd hoped. But I'm still intringued.
    The calender was headed: Wadcrete (Building Supplies) Ltd, Croydon, Surrey (England).
    Is there anyone out there who can throw some light on this?

    Sarah Jones
    London, UK
    Thursday, February 4, 1999


    An archive of magazine articles on Plath, prepared for a postgraduate degree, is currently being offered for sale. It includes; Gordon Lameyer's "Letters from Sylvia," with photos; the PN exchange between Olwyn Hughes and Anne Stevenson about Bitter Fame, and the subsequent poem and article by Stevenson, wherein she discloses that the experience sent her back into the arms of her favorite author, Jane Austen; "Lear in Boston," a memoir by a fellow student in the Lowell Seminar that included Sexton and the "angry, angular" Plath; Xerox copies of the Guardian for the week that Plath died, along with Alvarez' obituary, and first publications of poems by Plath and Hughes; Xerox copies of the Boston papers the week that Plath disappeared, with photos; Xeroxes of the 80s controversies re Plath, including the Alexander "Poet and the Unquiet Grave" flap, with photographs; copies of the '70s Review articles and letters re Plath by Harriet Rosenstein, Butscher, et. al.; the Review memoir by Elizabeth Compton, with photo; pertinent recent notes about Plath and unpublished Ariel poems in the TLS "NB" column; the 60's Manchester Guardian article on Hughes and Plath by Dr. Horder, with photograph; the New York Review contretemps over the years in the letters pages re Plath, with Alvarez, Olwyn Hughes, Karl Miller, Hugh Kenner, Butscher, and a cast of thousands, exchanging billingsgate and fisticuffs; and thousand other calamities besides, as the bard would say, mostly scholarly stuff, litchat and critchat, with the odd memory of Plath thrown in. These papers fill two wooden wineboxes and can also make excellent paperweights, doorstops, or missiles for a catapult.

    Cost; a trifling $250 (cost of copying and Interlibrary loan), plus shipping costs to wherever you are. Act now! If no one buys this within the week, it's going into the trash--I can't afford to hang onto it. Some kind soul please give these papers a home; God will bless you; I am sure of it. No serious Plath scholar can pretend to be without this archive; and remember, it's only money.

    Kenneth Jones
    San Francisco, USA
    Wednesday, February 3, 1999

    Thank you, Christy, for the Ted Hughes information, especially the link to the torn-up "Bell Jar" draft page. Egad -- Mrs. Plath et al. got off easy if that's the kind of stuff her daughter had originally planned to publish.

    Has anyone here seen an unedited "Bell Jar" or other drafts (or excerpts) of the book in any of the Plath collections? I've always been intrigued by "BJ," as Plath's other attempts at prose weren't nearly as fluid, and I wonder how much was edited and excised, both by Plath and her publishing-house editors. Opinions?

    Falls Church, Virginia, USA
    Tuesday, 2 Feb 1999

    A large collection of Ted Hughes papers (2.5 tons) was sold to Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia in 1996. It is going to be opened to scholars over the next few weeks. According to John Harlow, Arts correspondent of the “Sunday Times” (31.1.99) many of the documents show that Hughes and Plath shared the “same creative cauldron” in the late 1950’s. There are pieces of paper where she wrote a draft version of a short story and on the opposite side he would draft a poem that appeared in later collections. Steve Ennis, curator of literary collections at Emory stated: “It is evidence that they sat in the same room, writing together, sharing the experience, which mitigates against the myth that he undermined her.”

    Elaine Connell
    Hebden Bridge, UK
    Wednesday, February 3, 1999

    Hi, i'm a senior in highschool and for one of our assignments for AP English, we have to analyze, paraphrase, and answer some other questions about a poem. My partner and I were given Sylvia Plath's "Ariel" and are having a bit of trouble with the assignment. If anyone can help me out with an interpretation and with paraphrasing the poem, it would be much appreciated! Email me!

    Grand Blanc, MI, USA
    Wednesday, February 3, 1999

    I have read that Plath spent some time in her youth visiting a male friend who was in a sanatorium in Ray Brook. The story goes- she was skiing at the hill in Saranac Lake, presumably Mount Pisgah, and that she broke her leg there.

    One could assume she was treated at the local hospital in Saranac Lake... that building now houses part of the community college. I don't know of anyone here who has the least recollection of her being here, and of course that would have been some time before the advent of streptomycin ended this town's days as a T.B. treatment center...

    I would welcome comments and further details of this, if anyone has some.

    Many thanks for this Forum. I'm sure I will visit frequently.

    Saranac Lake, n.y., USA
    Wednesday, February 3, 1999

    For those living or on holiday in London in May, there is an open service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Ted Hughes, at 11am, Thursday, May 13, at Westminster Abbey. Tickets are free and admission is open to all. If you wish to attend, you must apply in writing, enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, to:

    The Assistant Receiver General
    Room 13
    The Chapter Office
    20 Dean's Yard
    Westminster Abbey
    London SW1P 3PA

    Email enquiries to

    Tickets will be posted on April 29th. Perhaps someone in the U.K. can/will attend and let the rest of us know about it?!

    Detroit, USA
    Tuesday, February 2, 1999

    In searching the web for information about the Hughes papers at Emory, I've run across a couple interesting tidbits. The first is that there is another, limited, edition of _Birthday Letters_ (120 copies), that includes 11 poems not included in the regular edition. Does anyone else know more details? I was doing so much net browsing that I can't remember where I read about it. I wonder if one of those 120 copies will end up at the Indiana, Smith, or at Emory.

    Another thing that I ran across is a very interesting article at Emory Magazine, which is about the Hughes archive. There are a couple interesting pictures, and mention of more Crow poems.

    One last, and rather unrelated point. The F. Hughes poems were being discussed here at the time the shocking death of Ted Hughes; I think the discussion got cut a little short. I've been reading them lately, finding parts very interesting. If anyone wants to comment on those, either here, or to me personally (I say "personally" because the next post is bound to be "this is the SP forum, not the FH forum), I'd really love it.

    Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    Tuesday, February 2, 1999

    I am a freshman at Valencia Community College doing a research paper on the comparison and freindship of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath. I have already been the Modernist Conversations: Anne sexton and Sylvia Plath: Two Confessional Poets page, have both poems "Daddy" and "My Friend, My Friend", and have a document comparing the two poems. I was wondering if someone could tell me some book titles or links I could go to to get more information. Both writers are incredible and I thought the paper would be interesting if I could find some awsome articles about the two. Thanks for the help, I greatly appreciate it.

    Julie Ginsburg
    Orlando, Florida, USA
    Tuesday, February 2, 1999

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    This forum is administered by Elaine Connell, author of Sylvia Plath: Killing The Angel In The House - second edition with new preface just out, December 1998. Elaine lives in Hebden Bridge, near where Sylvia Plath is buried and where Ted Hughes was born. Web Design by Pennine Pens. This forum is moderated - contributions which are inappropriate, anonymous or likely to offend may be edited or omitted.